“The world is getting small” is a familiar cliché. But today, we have gone one step further. Now, it is said “The world is still shrinking”. What this implies is that the ancient world was vast and expansive but the modern world is tiny and small. But the fact is that the size of the world has never altered. Neither was it enormous earlier nor is it tiny today. This apparent difference in size is due to the rapid and incredible progress made in the fields of science and technology. Today, it is possible for a person in the West to communicate – verbally & visually – with a person in a remotest area of the East. And the means of getting them closer is the ‘computer screen’. The giant strides in the domain of knowledge have now made it possible for a satellite hovering in space to take the image of the minutest of objects. This enables the attacker to target that object and destroy it with pinpoint accuracy. Outer space has come closer to earth. Distances between the East & West have contracted. Meteorologists are able to predict the changing weather patterns in the atmosphere. Lush green fields are now found in places where once the lands were barren and infertile. Vegetation is sprouting everywhere. The season of spring is found where once there was autumn!!
The purpose of narrating this is to ascertain the prophecies of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) concerning his (a.s.) last successor – Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) and to verify their veracity as per the world view. We will try to analyse the authenticity of only three of those prophecies.
(1) The era of occultation will be prolonged:
Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) was born in 255 A.H. in the esteemed house of Imam Askari (a.s.), in the locality of Askar situated in the city of Samarrah. Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) was martyred in the year 260 AH. Since Imamat is a Divine regulation, hence its actualisation was set in motion under a divine plan (For more details, you can refer to the book “Durr-e-Maqsood).
The era of minor occultation commenced – that lasted for sixty nine years – in which there were special deputies. The testimonies of the witnesses (special deputies) were verified and ascertained in this lengthy era of minor occultation. The major occultation commenced in the year 329 AH. In the light of the final tauqee (epistle), the responsibility of leading and guiding the community fell on the shoulders of the venerable “maraj’e”. They are the Hujjat (representatives) of Imam (a.s.) on the people. Eleven centuries have elapsed in the era of major occultation. During this time, the world has witnessed revolutions, calamites, cyclones, political upheavals, newer and sophisticated means of corruption of faith and morals, ever increasing oppression and atrocities and factories that manufacture weapons of mass destructions (WMD). Yet, this tumultuous and turbulent era of major occultation has failed to affect the beliefs and ideology of the Shia sect of Islam. This is only due to the painstaking and relentless efforts of our scholars in every era – the past, the middle and the present ones. They have minutely scrutinised, analysed and verified the traditions of Ahle Bait (a.s.). They have sieved the false traditions from the authentic ones. These traditions (ahadith) have been the guiding light for the followers of Ahle Bait (a.s.). The reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) may be near or far, yet the prophecy of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) that it will be lengthy is definitely accurate and for all to see.
(2) The final era of major occultation
As the major occultation will keep on getting prolonged, the predictions about the ‘last era’ will become more manifest. People will helplessly and despondently say “These are the omens of the last era” Then what are the prophecies of this era? It is said that life will become so harsh and grim for a believer that remaining steadfast on faith and certitude would be an uphill task. It would be as if he is carrying a blistering coal in his fist (meaning that inspite of his agony, he will have to remain unruffled). This may sound like a cliché, yet the world is full of incidences – that are reported and flashed across television screens every day – that give goose bumps to the believers and they have to live in fear and anxiety. Their only option is to put up a brave face and present an image of serenity. For instance, man’s journey of seventeen days to the moon, his descent on the lunar surface – all of which entailed an expenditure of millions of dollars – has overwhelmed the imagination of man. The mindboggling advancements in the field of technology, medicine and bio-technology have increased his faith on these sciences and have diminished his certitude on the Almighty Allah. He is overawed and spellbound by this rapid progress. The Western civilisation is full of billboards and advertisements that depict obscenity and vulgarity. Deviant co-habitation has been legalised in many countries. Wantonness and abuse prevail to fulfill carnal desires. Court proceedings of such incidences are regularly published in the newspapers. In this arena of Shaitan, which is dominated by wine and sins, there are prophecies that foretell the advent of a divine crusader who will be carrying the flag of reformation. He will herald the dawn of a new civilisation. He will be the sanctuary for the entire humanity. The world will discuss and deliberate the start of this new era. All these fast changing events taking place at that point in time will bear testimony to the predictions concerning the reappearance of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.). It is clear that the individuals who will come forward to acquire the recognition of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) in these trying times will be only few in numbers.
Outcome of Worldview
In these testing and challenging times where the propagations of flawed and erroneous ideologies are echoing in the ears and when it is so easy to succumb to one’s desires and difficult to remain steadfast and patient on religion, especially for those youths who travel to the West in search of greener pastures for their careers. If in the present scenario is so perilous then what can one say about the future? It’s like holding fire in the hands.
(3) The world will be filled with injustice and oppression. This will be followed by a reign of justice and equity i.e. reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.)
Here there are two prophecies. The present era is hurtling towards these two prophecies with such a pace that the reappearance of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) appears just around the corner. Similar to the way the false dawn progresses rapidly towards the true dawn every day. The prophecy that the world shall be filled with injustice and oppression is actually a hadith and a warning from the side of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a). The other prediction is a divine prophecy which is mentioned in the Holy Quran. “Surely Allah shall enliven the earth after its demise.” Two catastrophies almost severed the jugular vein of the earth which would have led to its downfall and destruction. One was the brutal killing of Hazrat Yahya (a.s.). The place where he was martyred began oozing blood. But the prayers and supplications of the subsequent divine representatives were the cause of divine mercy on that land. Thus the piece of earth that bore that heart rendering calamity regained its former health and glory. The second agonising incident is of Karbala – especially the occasion where the grandson of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) wanted to drop the blood of his infant son Janab-e-Aliasgar (a.s.) on the earth. The earth shrieked at this juncture, indicating that it was not willing to accept that blood. Finally, Imam Husain (a.s.) rubbed that blood on his face and said, “I will stand before my grandfather on the day of Judgement in this condition.” Thus he (a.s.) saved the gasping, trembling and quivering earth from certain annihilation. When the earth survived, its inhabitants too remained secure. Else the gigantic waves of the sea would have drowned the earth and swallowed its inhabitants (just as the Tsunami inundated and destroyed parts of Japan)
The world will be bursting with injustice and equity. At that time the world will be lifeless. A believer who is blessed by the Benevolent Allah with the twin bounties of intellect and maturity will easily be able to differentiate between the oppressor and the oppressed. Justice is deeply rooted in his conscience and it exhorts him to ponder on the happenings in the world. If he analyses the on-going events he will certainly realise the extent to which injustice has permeated the society and how much the world has become lifeless.
The inventions of the modern age are deadly. Multiple bombs, chemical bombs, nuclear missiles, atom bomb, hydrogen bomb …. And God knows how many more bombs are amassed in the arsenal of superpowers. The weapons of aerial warfare are astounding. Drones, stealth bombers, fighter planes that annihilate their targets with pinpoint accuracy – thanks to the satellite images beamed on their screens. The naval arsenal too is astonishing. Fleets of nuclear powered aircraft carriers, long range submarines – all of them are weapons of mass destruction. The biggest culprit is the only superpower of the world – the United States of America. The media, the Security Council, Human rights organisations (like Amnesty) – all are puppets in its hands and are dancing to its tunes. Wisdom is called insanity and insanity is labelled as intelligence. The recent agitation in Bahrain is a case in point. Emergency has been declared in that country, yet the protestors are being engulfed with a torrent of bullets rained from helicopters. Doctors and nurses have been forbidden from providing medical help to the victims……
The army of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – the guardian of the precincts of Holy Kaaba – falsely arrested the protestors and labelled them as rebels. All of them were killed by a firing squad. Their women were picked up from their houses and were victims of all kinds of indecencies. Today Saudi Arabia is speaking the language of Israel – and behaving like it too. It is tightening the noose around the Muslims. And finally the terrorists. They are Muslims in name but are terrorising the world by calling themselves as “jehadis.” There is misery and suffering in all corners of the world. The earth is on its last breath submerged in bloodshed and violence. But the promise of Allah will certainly actualise. He has promised that He will grant a new lease of life to this earth and this is guaranteed to materialise. He has hinted about this eventuality in the Holy Quran wherein he says, “We will certainly make our servants – those who were weakened in the earth – as leaders (Imams) and inheritors (of the earth)” (Surah Qasas: v 5) Thus when Allah’s representative and caliph will reappear, he will grant a new lease of life to this earth and will confer it with dynamism and energy. The earth will be a reflection of Paradise. Now the world should turn its face towards this ray of hope whose glow is intensifying with every passing day. This ray of hope is none other than Imam Mahdi (a.s.). The only criterion during this period of Intezaar is that one should not be a victim of despondency and gloom. Till the time the people are firmly attached to this divine representative and emissary – who is the inheritor of this earth – the corrupt and immoral environment will not have any effect on their faith. But the travellers on the path of truth and righteousness should be careful that their feet don’t wobble while treading this path. Steadfastness, firm intention, virtuous actions – all are the lamps of “Serat-ul-Mustaqeem” and the signposts to the tent of the “King of the era” and “Master of the time.” The establishment of justice and equity and the era of peace and harmony seem imminent. Aameen